Yale delegation visits Ashoka University
A delegation from Yale University consisting of Prof. Steven Wilkinson, Vice-Provost of Global Strategy, Sunil Amrith, Chair of the South Asia Studies Council (SASC), Kasturi Gupta, Director of Institutional Partnerships and Prof. Swapna Sharma, Language Program Director visited Ashoka on January 10, 2023
GESP10 February, 2023 | 4m read
A delegation from Yale University consisting of Prof. Steven Wilkinson, Vice-Provost of Global Strategy, Sunil Amrith, Chair of the South Asia Studies Council (SASC), Kasturi Gupta, Director of Institutional Partnerships and Prof. Swapna Sharma, Language Program Director visited Ashoka on January 10, 2023.
They had successful interactions with Vice Chancellor Prof. Somak Raychaudhury, Founder Vineet Gupta, Profs. Gautam Menon, Dean of Research; Amita Baviskar, Dean of Faculty; Anurag Agrawal, Dean of Biosciences; Associate Prof. Kasturi Mitra, of Biology, Vanita Shastri, Dean of Global Education & Strategic Partnerships (GESP) and Dipin Kaur, Asst Prof. of Political Science.
Yale University has been a partner of Ashoka since 2015, and the MOU with them was renewed in 2022 for another five years. The focus of the meeting was to discuss deepening existing activities and exploring new opportunities in the sciences. Prof. Somak Raychaudhury, VC Ashoka University, Gautam Menon, Anurag Agarwal and Kasturi Mitra gave the Yale team an overview of the new developments with the School of Biosciences and the plan to set up new centres that will focus on data and computing at Ashoka in the next few years. The launch of the new Ashoka Centre for Astrophysics was also discussed as an important milestone for the science programme at the university. There was much interest in the Ashoka Centre for Interdisciplinary Archeological Research which has been developed in collaboration between the History and Biology departments to engage in research at the centre.
Prof. Sunil Amrith, Chair of SASC and Kasturi Gupta, Director of Institutional Partnerships of Yale University separately met History PhD students at Ashoka. They discussed modalities of doing archival research and how to translate primary research data into written material and how to maximize avenues for feedback on dissertation ideas. Prof. Amrith offered advice on navigating archives and working with incomplete primary documents in a holistic manner in which the ‘missingness’ of such documents didn’t change the nature of the argument but instead became part of the eventual narrative students offered in their projects.
Possible avenues of collaboration of interest that came up included setting up short, week-long master classes for graduate students on various themes (for instance, methodological training, and transitioning from data collection to dissertation writing). Dr Gupta also encouraged students to apply for workshops, such as the Modern South Asia Workshop at Yale. Prof. Amrith was very impressed with the Ph.D. students and said, “I enjoyed very much to hear the topics the students are working on and I look forward to interacting with them more.”
The possibility of hosting a Yale Summer Session (YSS) course at Ashoka was brought up. One of the ideas is, to begin with, a course on Bhakti Literature with Prof. Swapna Sharma. Ashoka university has a very well-developed model of running joint courses with universities across the globe which can be easily expanded to include courses from Yale. The delegation left with many ideas that the two international offices will follow up on this year.